The wind farm, which combines the Walney 1 and 2 projects, has already set a number of industry records, and will create approximately 60 jobs at its new operations centre in Barrow-in-Furness.
DONG Energy managed to construct Walney 2 in the fastest ever time for an offshore wind project, with all turbines and cables installed in just five months and 13 days, setting a record in the sector. It marks an important step for the industry, and DONG Energy’s strong drive towards further industrialising the industry.
Walney is also ground-breaking in its financing, being the first UK offshore wind farm to receive investment from a pension fund service provider and an equity fund before it had even been built. OPW, a consortium of the Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund, took a 24.8 per cent stake in the project in December 2010.
The partnership with PGGM and Ampere Equity Fund, which is managed by Triodos Bank’s subsidiary Triodos Investment Management, clearly demonstrates that institutional investors are willing to invest in well-structured offshore wind projects alongside market leading industry participants. DONG Energy has around 30 per cent of the offshore wind market throughout Europe.
Walney is made up of 102 Siemens Wind Power turbines each with a capacity of 3.6 MW.
Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: ”Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector. Our island’s tremendous natural resource, our research base and a proud history of engineering make this the number one destination for investment in offshore wind.“
”And Walney is the newest, biggest and fastest-built jewel in that crown, providing clean power for hundreds of thousands of households.“
”Opening Walney during my first week in office lets me underline my commitment to continuing the Coalition’s work to make this sector a success story for the British economy, not least with the innovation it is driving and the employment it is creating.”
The inauguration of Walney provides further evidence of DONG Energy’s commitment to developing the UK’s offshore wind resources. With 1GW of offshore wind generation on stream or under construction in the UK, and an investment program totalling around £3 billion in offshore wind alone, DONG Energy is a major investor in the UK.
Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy, said: “DONG Energy is delighted to have developed this record-breaking wind farm. Not only is it the world’s biggest wind farm but it has been built in the fastest time ever and it marked a new era in terms of financing being the first project in the UK backed by institutional investors. Walney is a landmark in offshore wind and DONG Energy’s strong drive to further industrialise offshore wind power and cut costs. It demonstrates our commitment to invest in the UK.”
Jim Smith, SSE’s Managing Director, Renewables, said: “Today is a great example of what can happen when skilful, innovative companies are focussed on a goal. We are seeing real, low carbon investment and real job creation, proving that offshore wind does have the ability to be a key UK industry. SSE is committed to delivering the low carbon economy, and today proves that not only do we have the will, we also have the necessary skills and expertise to deliver such projects.”
Dennis van Alphen, OPW Director and Senior Investment Manager at PGGM, said: “We are delighted with the completion of the Walney offshore wind project which is a tremendous achievement and underpins the importance of a strong strategic partner like DONG Energy. This investment in clean energy is aligned with the ESG criteria in the investment policy for our clients and investors and further cements our focus on expanding Renewable Energy as asset class.”